Michael Bond, the creator of beloved children's character Paddington Bear, has died. The famed author passed away at his home on Tuesday (27 June) following a short illness, his publisher Harper Collins confirmed in a statement.
Born in Newbury, Berkshire, in 1926, Bond published his first book, A Bear Called Paddington, about the marmalade-loving bear from Peru living in London, in 1958. He went on to write more than 200 books throughout his illustrious career.
Although other famous works include Olga da Polga and A Mouse Called Thursday, it was the duffle coat and wellington boots-wearing Paddington that become a national treasure.
After the books won over the hearts of children across the globe, Paddington's escapades were adapted for TV, as well as the big screen in 2014. More than 35 million Paddington books have been sold around the world to date.
His daughter, Karen Jankel, said that "it's wonderful that he's left the legacy of his books and Paddington that will live on for ever, which is really very special.
"The whole world is lucky to have had him ... Paddington himself is so real to all of us, he's still a part of our family and we're very lucky."
Paying tribute to the Bond, Executive Publisher HarperCollins Children's Book, Ann-Janine Murtagh described him as "true gentleman, a bon viveur, the most entertaining company and the most enchanting of writers".
Bond's final Paddington novel, Paddington's Finest Hour, was published back in April. Another film based on the books is scheduled for release on 10 November 2017.